May 26, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Teaching and Learning (MM)

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by School


The goal of this professional degree is to prepare the student for an advanced level of pre-college teaching and leadership in the music education profession by developing core knowledge and expertise in pedagogical skills and scholarship. It provides a seamless transition into the DMA in Teaching and Learning, with most units being transferable to the DMA requirements.


Admission to Thornton programs is granted through the USC admission process. Applicants are screened by appropriate faculty selection committees. Specific entrance requirements are reviewed on an annual basis and published online at

Unit and Grade Requirements

Students must complete at least 26 semester units at USC, including the capstone. A grade point average of not less than 3.0 (A = 4.0) is required for all graduate courses in music, and a grade of B or higher is required for all courses in the major department. Students who transfer credits must achieve this average on all combined transferred and residence units.

Transferred Credits

All credits transferred must be the equivalent of corresponding current work at USC. Course work completed at another institution that has been approved by the Thornton School for transfer credit must have been completed within seven years from the date of admission to a master’s degree program to be applied toward that degree. Transfer credit petitions must be filed with the appropriate Thornton adviser during the first semester in residence.

Time Limit

The time limit for completing the Master of Music degree is five years. Progress is measured from the beginning of the first course at USC applied toward the degree. Extensions will be granted by petition to the Thornton School for only the most compelling reasons.

Music Graduate Entrance Exams

All students entering a graduate-level degree program (MA, MM, DMA, PhD) at USC Thornton, who have not previously completed a degree at USC Thornton, must take a series of entrance exams in core music subjects. These exams are called Music Graduate Entrance Exams (MGEEs). Information regarding which exams are required for specific majors is available from the Thornton Student Affairs office. Also see the Thornton School of Music Admission to Graduate Standing  section of this catalogue for specific policies relating to these exams.

Capstone and Guidance Committee

A thesis or final project is required for candidates as a capstone for the Master of Music in Teaching and Learning. The thesis will consist of a research document written on a topic approved by the Music Teaching and Learning department; the final project will consist of a creative project that will present the arrangement, production or design of innovative ideas, materials or curricula for specific applications in teaching music. Before registering for 594a Thesis or 590 and 592 (for the project option), a student must establish a guidance committee composed of three members of the faculty, approved by the department chair, of which at least two are from the home department. The chair of the guidance committee directly supervises the preparation of the thesis, the final acceptance of which is based upon the unanimous recommendation of all three members of the committee.

Comprehensive Review

Candidates for the Master of Music must pass a comprehensive review toward the end of their course of study, usually in the final semester. This review, which is administered by the faculty of the major department, consists of an oral or written examination, covering relevant aspects of musical performance, literature, and/or technique.

Curriculum Requirements

Applied Music (4 units)

4-units total are to be earned by choosing from the following: 

Individual Instruction (lessons); courses in conducting, composition or arranging; or ensemble. Individual instruction and ensembles must be at the 500 level. Conducting, composition and arranging courses must be at the 400 or 500 level.

Core Thornton Academic Courses (8 units)

Electives in music at the 400 or 500 level (3 units)

Comprehensive Review (0 units)

Capstone Project (4 units)

Total units: 30

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by School